Thursday, May 30, 2024

President Macron Outlines his Vision of European Sovereignty

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By Roy Lie Atjam

At the invitation of His Majesty  King Willem Alexander, the President of the Republic of France, Emmanuel Macron, paid a state visit to the Netherlands on 11 and 12 April 2023. His wife, Brigitte Macron, accompanied him.

The French President’s visit to the Netherlands will reaffirm the excellent ties between the two countries. The state visit will help to further deepen their cooperation, including joint efforts by France and the Netherlands to make Europe stronger, greener and safer.

While in The Hague, at the invitation of the Nexus Institute, President Macron delivered a discourse on “European sovereignty”. His discourse attracted Ministers, MPs, former ministers, diplomats, students and many others.

The keyword of the entire state visit was European sovereignty

President Macron shapes the contour of his vision for European sovereignty during his lecture. Macron envisages a Europe built on the basis of competitiveness, industrial policy, protectionism, cooperation and reciprocity. The lecture was essentially about Macron’s importance to a stronger, more economically independent Europe. A Europe that does not move at the whim of power blocs China and the US.

President Macron said the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine helped drive the need for an independent European strategy.

Indeed the pandemic was a wake-up call, making Europe realize how dependent it was on other nations. 

Macron went on to say defending our sovereignty doesn’t mean shying away from allies. It means we are capable of choosing our partners and stipulating our destiny rather than being a mere witnesses of the dramatic evolution of this world.

The President spoke of his vision for a new era of European sovereignty. We must strive to be rule-makers rather than rule-takers.

European sovereignty might have once sounded like just a French idea, Macron said, or even wishful thinking, but pointed to the danger of a Europe that is too dependent on other world powers, saying it places Europe in the position of not being able to decide for itself.

According to President Macron, Europe would maintain robust relationships with its allies. We want to be open, he said. We want allies, we want good friends, we want partners. But we always want to be in a situation to choose them. Not to be one hundred per cent dependent on them. We can do this in keeping with our spirit of openness and partnership.

Disrupted by demonstrators. President Macron had only just begun his speech on the future of Europe when demonstrators disrupted his speech. They shouted at him from the balcony while holding banners.

Macron was portrayed as a president of violence and hypocrisy. The protesters were alluding to the ongoing protests in France, increasing the retirement age from 62 to 64. Where has French democracy gone?

The President listened to them and tried to respond, but the protesters shouted him down. I can answer your question if you give me the time Macron retorted.

Reference was made to The Congress of Europe 75 years ago in The Hague  from 7–11 May 1948 with 750 delegates participating from around Europe. The objective was to determine the political, economic, social and cultural frameworks for the establishment of a united Europe.

Kudos to the Nexus Institute, particularly to the founder-director Rob Riemen, who was the moderator of the proceedings. Thank you for organizing such a dignified and impressive lecture.

A Q&A session concluded the sublime lecture by the President of the Republic of France, Emmanuel Macron. 

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